We all know people who can remain resilient in stressful situations as if nothing has happened at all. They develop their ability to control their emotions and read other people's emotions too. They understand people better and know how to inspire them to take action.
People who are emotionally intelligent have great social skills. Emotionally intelligent people are more likely to remain calm and solve the problems at times of adversity. In fact, research studies have shown that emotionally intelligent people are more successful in the workplace. Meanwhile, a number of studies show that skills highly related to emotional intelligence in people set them apart from their peers in terms of financial success.
You might have seen people who have incredibly high Intelligent Quotient (IQ) also called cognitive intelligence but low Emotional Quotient (EQ), while there are people who have high EQ but no IQ at all. In fact, having both IQ and EQ is essential to take your organization into greater heights. Your general intelligence (IQ) is your ability to understand information, solve problems, and make sound decisions. Whereas, your emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, manage and respond consciously in terms of yourself and other people’s feelings. Since emotional intelligence is increasingly more important in leadership roles and management field, leaders and managers should have a better understanding of their teams and the individuals inside their organizations.
Emotional Intelligence (EI) was coined by two scientists Peter Salovey and John Mayer in 1990. They described it as “a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action.” Later on, this term was popularized by Harvard trained psychologist, Daniel Goleman in 1996. In his book, “Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter than I.Q”, he offers insights into our two minds “rational” and “emotional”; and why emotionally intelligent people are more successful in their work, relationships and personal wellbeing.
Oftentimes, there is an argument going on among psychologists claiming that you can’t measure EQ like IQ as it is a subjective matter and unstable concept. IQ is fixed and cannot be changed, but the good news is, unlike other soft skills, you can work on and develop your EQ. According to Goleman, there are five key elements of emotional intelligence. So, let’s dive deep into how you can be a highly emotionally intelligent person.
What does it mean to be self-aware? Basically, it involves understanding who you are in terms of three levels:
1) understanding what you are doing
2) knowing your emotions and feelings
3) understanding your strengths and limitations (what you don’t know about yourself).
The first step of self-awareness is being aware of what you are doing and being aware of associated emotions that come with your actions. Easier said than done, right? Here is a bitter truth about so many of us- “we are on autopilot mode”; many of us are not aware of our daily actions. We use distractions as a medium to avoid unwanted emotions happening to us. For instance, most of us turn to our phone or it might be drugs or any unproductive activities just to numb our true feelings.
The point to be noted here is whether you are aware of your emotions and accept it or you can react to it unconsciously. After being aware of your actions and associated emotions, you can focus on managing your emotions.
Self-management refers to your ability to handle your emotions well.
You might come to realize that your emotions and feelings are the effects of what you are doing. Even when you are in a bad mood and want to act on impulses, you can control them if you make a choice to not act upon them. For example, if you are a manager and your employees make a mistake, you might lose your temper easily, blowing up at your employees or you can either keep yourself calm and figure out what’s wrong and find out the solution to the problem.
The whole point is how you are reacting with your emotions. You will be able to manage your emotions well if you can recognize them, think well before you act upon them. Moreover, emotionally intelligent people develop their ability to cope with other irrational emotions/behaviors, adapt to the situation and act accordingly.
Motivation is a cognitive behaviour where you are passionate about doing something and getting continuous improvement at it. As Goleman defines in his book Emotional Intelligence, emotionally intelligent individuals are committed to their job and have perseverance even in adverse situations.
Have you ever been completely immersed in an activity? Like, you get yourself so lost in work that you lose the sense of time, you feel like it’s been only 10 minutes for you, but already 2 hours have passed. Well, this happens to me when I am writing. It’s a mixed feeling, when I am bombarded with ideas in my head, struggle to put them into words and eventually get little bursts of dopamine when I get it done.
The point is I love the feeling but I am not waiting for the “good feeling” to come to me before I start writing. It may happen or may not but taking action motivates me to do more. Sometimes, I am really annoyed because I can’t exactly put what I want to say into words. Sometimes, I am frustrated because my writing can’t resonate with my audience at all. But all the emotions motivate me to work hard and become good at my craft.
Many people are looking for the right time, looking for outsiders who motivate them or wait for inspiration to strike in their heads. Note that “ taking action” is the best way to motivate yourself. Observe your emotions before you do something and after completing your work. And, know that you need to learn to motivate yourself; this behaviour is applicable everywhere in your life: work, study, gym, relationships to name a few.
Goleman describes emotional intelligence in terms of directing emotions and feelings within ourselves. Indeed, the purpose of developing emotional intelligence is about being empathetic to others by recognizing emotions to create healthier relationships with people in both business and personal life.
In simple words, empathy is the ability to understand other people’s emotions and feelings. The point to be noted here is even if you aren’t good at recognizing others’ emotions, being empathetic to others is about accepting people for who they are.
Becoming empathetic begins with social awareness, listening to other people’s concerns and worries, acknowledging their problems and understanding their perspectives. For example, if you are a creative person (your job involves creative work), let’s say you are a UX designer and you’re creating a digital product for your client. Firstly, you need to understand your end users and have concerns about their problems. Only when you are empathetic to others more than just thinking about your self interest by putting yourselves in their shoes, you will be able to provide value and help them solve their problems.
Note that being empathetic is not concerned with creating a product or doing business, it’s an attribute to succeed in all areas of your life.
One trait that distinguishes highly emotionally intelligent people among peers is they infuse emotions with their values. The important point is you might be an emotionally intelligent individual, but it will be meaningless if you are not practicing your values in what you do. For example, a highly educated father knows every aspect of emotional intelligence and teaches his children all the commandments of emotional intelligence, but if his action shows lack of honesty and respect for others, what do you think his children will learn from him?
So, what are your personal values you want to integrate into your organization? In order to become a truly emotionally intelligent individual, you need to know what your values are, and every action you take must reflect your values in your work.
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